Thursday, 28 March 2013

Just another Easter

Last day of school before the kids break up for Easter. My seven year old was allowed to take a DVD in with her - the teacher asked if any of the children had an Easter DVD. Half the class must have answered: Hop.

Hop must have as much to do with Easter as Santa Claus does with Christmas.

I sent her in with The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. Now there is an Easter story:

The creator of all things returns to find a world enslaved by an evil force. A human male turns traitor against the creator, choosing to value greed and power above all other things. Despite this treasonous act, the creator agrees to allow himself to be exchanged for the traitor and offers himself as a willing sacrifice.

The traitor, now forgiven, is set free.

The creator is horribly and brutally killed.

All hope seems lost until... the body of the creator disappears.

Two human girls search for the body and then meet the creator - magically and miraculously brought back to life: a willing sacrifice who shed his blood could not be kept dead!

The creator then leads an army to set free others who have been enslaved and ultimately conquer the evil force.

This weekend I choose to celebrate Jesus Christ: a willing sacrifice in my place; punished for my sin; killed but death unable to hold onto him; returned to life and power and awesome glory.

I'll be interested to see what film my daughter watched today. The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is not a Universal certificate: Parental Guidance advised.

What does Easter mean to you?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Beware of the Leopard

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy might have this to say about the Scottish Government’s consultation on Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill:

The Scottish Government will claim the Scottish people have had ample time to read the draft bill and sixteen (count them) annexes. This will have been of no use to the millions of Scots who were never informed there even was a consultation.

The Scottish Government will claim the draft bill was freely available and could be printed out. This will have been worthless to the 29% of Scots (Digital Participation in Scotland: A Review of the Evidence) who do not have personal Internet use. That is almost one third of adults in Scotland who have been disenfranchised from taking part in the debate on Marriage and Civil Partnership.

The percentage goes up dramatically when you look at lack of Internet access for the elderly and the poorest in Scotland: 52% and 42% respectively.

Over the last month I’ve helped almost two dozen people respond to the consultation on Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. These were a wide range of people, some professional working people, others unemployed; many are intelligent but a few had learning difficulties and one had aspergers syndrome making it hard for that individual to concentrate. They were a wide age range as well: from early twenties to seventies. Every single person struggled as I had to understand the complexities behind each of the eighteen questions posed.

The few people who actually had access to a computer and the free week to read through the bill, the annexes, the associated research and other materials and who did not commit suicide during that process may have shared some of the conclusions my friends shared with me and want to ask these questions:
  • Why is the Scottish Government discriminating against the elderly?
  • Why is the Scottish Government discriminating against those with learning disabilities?
  • Why is the Scottish Government discriminating against the poor?
I sat with a young man who has aspergers as he tried to respond to the consultation. I believe his views on the consultation are as valid as those of any MSP; any journalist; any activist from Stonewall. He is intelligent, able to form reasoned arguments and has an opinion. Yet he found the consultation questions and statements to be deliberately and frustratingly confusing.

Not having aspergers myself I found myself no more able to understand the reasoning or so called justification the Scottish Government are using to propose this bill.

Several of my friends are retired. Together we helped one woman who has never used a computer in her life to respond to some of the questions. Without our help she would not even have been able to open the link to begin her response.

The Government bill aims to redefine a core aspect of society; will impact every single person in Scotland and will place hundreds of thousands of people in direct conflict with the Government.

So why is the Government not holding a referendum? Why is it that every single person in Scotland is not being given the opportunity to vote on whether this bill should be made law?

Is it because the Scottish Government knows (as the UK Government also knows) that the vast majority of people are opposed to redefining the meaning of marriage?

I would love to end with a snappy one-liner, perhaps be thankful the Scottish Government did not paste their draft bill to the underside of a filing cabinet, in a disused lavatory, with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard,’ but Douglas Adams said it first.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Time to balance the books

I only caught a few soundbites from today's UK Budget speech but that was enough to confirm neither David Cameron or his Chancellor George Osborne has any real interest in budgeting.

I was talking with colleagues today about data. Some people, managers especially, like a quick an easy summary. Did we meet our targets? How are we performing against our key measures?

Others (some managers included) like as much raw data as they can get their hands on. I'm a data guy. I like the quick and easy summaries but I don't trust them unless I can see the raw data and the calculations used to provide them.

So, I spent my lunch hour doing some quick and dirty analysis of my own.

[Warning: reading any further may cause you to distrust your Government!]

Figures taken from the BBC

"George Osborne says the deficit as a share of GDP will fall from 7.4% in 2013-14"

I don't like GDP. I've never understood it or why it is used. But, hey, every day is a learning day...

"Theoretically, GDP can be viewed in three different ways:
● The production approach sums the “value-added” at each stage of production, where value-added is defined as total sales less the value of intermediate inputs into the production process. For example, flour would be an intermediate input and bread the final product; or an architect’s services would be an intermediate input and the building the final product.
● The expenditure approach adds up the value of purchases made by final users—for example, the consumption of food, televisions, and medical services by households; the investments in machinery by companies; and the purchases of goods and services by the government and foreigners.
● The income approach sums the incomes generated by production—for example, the compensation employees receive and the operating surplus of companies (roughly sales less costs)."
Source: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/basics/gdp.htm

Did that make sense? Our UK Government uses all three GDP approaches and some complicated formulas to balance them.

I interpret GDP as follows:
Production: I provide work and services to my employers worth £48,811 a year
Expenditure: My total expenses are £23,613 a year
Income: My total income is £20,000 a year

My GDP can either be calculated as a balance of those three figures or as one of them. (By the way, any thoughts on the dicrepancy between production and income...?)

UK GDP is £1,540 Billion!

Now contrast that with the estimated income for the UK in 2013/14: £631 Billion

Our production capability is far greater than the income our Government can expect to receive. But who cares right, after all, we are capable of producing £48,811 (to go back to my income analogy), so what does it matter if we borrow £3,613?

I've done this myself, borrowed money to pay for College and University courses. Borrowed to buy a car so I could go to work. All in the expectation that I would be able to earn more in future years and pay off my debts.

And that is where my respect for politicians takes a nose dive. They know we will not be earning any more for years to come, some quite reasonably warn growth will be stalled for a decade.

In today's budget Chancellor George Osborne plans to borrow £121 Billion this coming year, and £120 Billion next year.

This money is not being spent on our future. It will not better equip Britain to generate more income, it is simply maintaining a status quo.

I started to have some respect for GDP but I've lost it:


Deficit
Deficit as % of GDP 7.40%
Deficit as % of Budget expense 15.30%
Deficit as % of income available! 18.10%

George wants you to look at the deficit in relation to GDP. It is a nice low figure. Seven percent, not too scary. The reality is that we need to look at the deficit in relation to planned expense and expected income!

18%! That is a huge amount of money to plan to borrow when there is no reasonable prospect of paying it back. Why are we borrowing this money? I don't know. Do you?

The Government appear to be saying that if we don't spend what they are planning, our economy will go into meltdown; unemployment will soar and we'll all regret it.

I believe this is a lie.

What the Government are not telling us is what they are actually spending the money on, not in the detail that would allow us to decide whether or not we actually want that money spent.

The BBC were asking last week for our suggestions for the Budget. Eighteeen percent of planned expenditure is a lot of money to cut from the economy but the reality is many households have had to cut that or worse over the last few years - and they have managed to do so!

We need a real debate in the UK about every penny Government spends. I'm sure there are a lot of ways we could cut eighteen percent from the budget without shedding a single job. There would be losers but shouldn't it be us that decide? Is the UK a democracy or a dictatorship?

Just in case you're still awake after reading that, here's some more analysis...

Population of UK: 63 Million
Adult population: 48 Million
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_Kingdom

If we as adult citizens were to be required to pay for our national debt (£1,155 Billion) it would require £24,062.50 per person. That is today. Our Government plans to add to that figure £2,400 each year for the forseeable future.

By the time my seven year old daughter reaches 18 (just over ten years now) and is able to work, her share of the debt could be as high as £48,000.

I am not willing to let my Government continue to store up debt for my children. Something has to change.

It is time to balance the books.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Redefining marriage the undemocratic way

In one of the few news broadcasts on the Government plans to redefine marriage, one image stood out: that of a young man stating that in our country we elect politicians to decide on our behalf.

Is that why you elect politicians?

I vote, not so politicians can go off and make any decision they want, but so my MP and MSP can represent my views in parliament.


The undemocratic decision to ignore responses to Government consulations on redefining marriage should make every British citizen concerned.

Without any mandate from the people; without any public discussion on whether or not we as a country want to redefine marriage, the UK and Scottish Governments are pushing for a radical change in society without considering what the long term implications will be.

The Scottish consultation ends on Wednesday 20th March 2013. To make your democratic voice heard, respond here:
https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/family-law/marriagebill/consult_view

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Marriage Minutes #06: Just a small step?

There is only one week to go until the Scottish Consultation on redefining marriage ends. If you want your democratic voice to be heard, this is your chance to have a say.

To respond to the consultation go to:
 https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/family-law/marriagebill/consult_view

You can view my response here.
 


I've noticed that some of my links to these Marriage Minutes have been going to the first video. Not sure what is wrong as these are YouTube's own links.

You can view all the Marriage Minutes videos from this link:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLS15SC1f3luN43Z_jv6BOUh8s2ebyntcR


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Equality

A friend's Facebook post: what 9 out of 10 Americans don't know caught my eye last week. The video it linked to is horrifying. In a stunningly simple way it shows how unequal society has become.

One percent of Americans own forty percent of America's wealth.


My first thought after watching was: is this the same in the UK?

My Thanks to Paul Croft for sharing evidence that the UK is not far off the inequality found in the USA:

http://paulcrofts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/distribution-of-wealth-in-uk.html

Our UK Government, supported by all three main political parties (Conservative, Liberal, Labour) keep saying with every new law they pass and propose that they are promoting equality in the UK.

My perception is that with every new law, the poorest and the least able to defend themselves in society are becoming worse off.

We the people need to take back the power and authority we have conceded to our government and say we have had enough of their equality that has resulted in the top ten percent owning forty or more percent of our countries wealth.

A quick search found several other links that I haven't had time to read yet but am noting them here for reference:

Policy commission on UK wealth distribution: get involved

Unequal Britain: richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest

The Distribution of Wealth in the UK
by The Institute for Fiscal Studies 1994 (Quite an old report but interesting for comparison with current situation)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

A response to the draft Marriage and Civil Partnership Scotland Bill

I've spent too many evenings reading through the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, the questions asked by the Scottish Government in their latest consultation and considering how to answer.

At the time of writing the people of Scotland only have another 16 days to respond to a consultation that raises serious concerns for anyone who values religious freedom in Scotland.

I urge everyone who lives in Scotland to read the draft bill, to consider the implications raised and to respond.

To respond to the consultation go to:
 https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/family-law/marriagebill/consult_view

To read the draft bill and associated documents go to:
 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/9433/downloads

I am posting my response publically below. I welcome discussion on anything I have written. 

Question 1 Do you have any comments on the impact assessments prepared in relation to the proposed legislation?

For most Christians their religious belief applies to their whole life including family, work and leisure. For these Christians their belief in the whole bible is likely to put them in conflict with equality legislation that contradicts God’s law in the Bible.

In the last few years the religious freedom and rights of Christians have been restricted in favour of the rights of gays and lesbians.

For example, Christians are now prevented from adopting children due to their beliefs regarding sexuality.

Many Christians work in the Health and Education sector and will be forced to choose between following their conscience and religious belief and obeying a law that promotes inequality rather than equality.

This law will have huge financial implications as many Christians will be unable to support it and will face legal action as a result.

The impact assessments completely ignore many negative implications of this law. For example:

All public sector workers will be at risk if they voice any objection to same sex marriage.

Any religious organisation that interacts with council or the state risks having all support and access to facilities or funds being withdrawn if they voice any objection to same sex marriage.

Scottish law and UK law are both overridden by European law with regard to equality and so the Scottish government cannot guarantee any protection of religious freedom or religious expression.



Question 2 Do you have any comments on allowing opposite sex and same sex civil marriage ceremonies to take place anywhere agreed between the registrar and the couple, other than religious premises?

Marriage is a public declaration of commitment. By holding marriage ceremonies on religious premises the couple understand they are making a solemn commitment before God. This encourages men and women to understand their commitment to each other is blessed by and supported by God as well as having public support.

By specifically excluding religious premises the Scottish Government weakens the concept of marriage.

By proposing this law, the Scottish Government puts itself in direct conflict with Christians who both believe marriage is between a man and a woman and who also believe marriage should be a public declaration and be blessed by God.



Question 3 Do you have any comments on establishing belief ceremonies as a third type of ceremony, alongside religious and civil, for getting married in Scotland?

Marriage law has existed for centuries to protect men, women, children and society.

The Scottish Government has ignored valid concerns raised in the previous consultation on redefining marriage and has failed in its responsibility to examine the implications of changing the law.

Humanism is a religious belief. Humanity is idolised as a God and as many gods. Humanism rejects all other religious beliefs despite the tremendous value religious belief brings to society.

The Scottish Government fails to show how men, women, children or society would be protected by a belief ceremony.

The Scottish Government fails to show how a belief ceremony would benefit all of society and not just Humanists.

The 2011 census showed ten times as many people stated their faith as Jedi Knight than stated their faith as Humanist. Does the Scottish Government intend to legalise a belief ceremony based on a science fiction series?



Question 4 Do you have any comments on amending section 8 of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 so that Church of Scotland deacons are authorised automatically to solemnise opposite sex marriage?

This is a deceitful question. By hiding the statement: "It is proposed to amend section 8 of the 1977 Act so that deacons are authorised to solemnise same sex marriages in the same way as ministers are." it is clear the Scottish Government does not wish Scottish citizens to fully understand your proposals.

The Scottish Government shows with this question that it has no understanding of Christian practice or tradition. The roles of Elders and Deacons were established by the first of Jesus disciples. Both Elders and Deacons to be people who live by God's law. The Scottish Government proposals are in direct conflict with Christian teaching regarding same sex relationships. Many Elders and Deacons will be unable to accept this change to the law.

If the Scottish Government withdraws its stated intention to "amend section 8 of the 1977 Act so that deacons are authorised to solemnise same sex marriages in the same way as ministers are." then this becomes a matter for the Church of Scotland to decide.

Has the Church of Scotland unanimously requested either change to the law? If not, why is the Scottish Government proposing a change that will cause a split in the church?



Question 5 Do you have any comments on establishing tests that a religious or belief body must meet before its celebrants can be authorised to solemnise marriage or register civil partnership?

The Scottish Government has ignored valid concerns in the first consultation on redefining marriage and I have no confidence in the Scottish Government promise to listen to views on any consultation on regulations regarding tests for marriage celebrants.

The Church was responsible for solemnising marriage long before the Scottish Government existed. It is not for the Scottish Government to set requirements on the church.

How does the Scottish Government propose to determine what is for profit or gain with regard to solemnising marriage? If a fixed fee was introduced to cover necessary costs this may be appropriate. However, is this actually needed? What differences exist currently in what may be charged for time and use of premises?

Training for celebrants is already carried out by many Christian groups. If training is not currently provided, it would be good to ensure all celebrants were trained to tackle forced marriage and sham marriage. However, how many forced or sham marriages are carried out in Scotland currently? What evidence does the Scottish Government have that Christian celebrants are being deceived into solemnising forced or sham marriages?

The Scottish Government is apparently seeking to discriminate against Christian groups that are not associated with the Church of Scotland.

The Scottish Government appears to be proposing that all religious celebrants will be required in law to discuss same sex marriages or civil partnerships in direct contradiction to the faith of those celebrants. This is likely to cause many celebrants to face legal action if they refuse and cause many more to give up their licence to marry to avoid acting in opposition to their faith. This proposal clearly shows the Scottish Government intention to weaken marriage.

If the Scottish Government changes it's proposal to state that celebrants be required to offer advice, counsel and guidance to opposite sex couples seeking marriage this would strengthen marriage. I note that many celebrants already offer this without any legal incentive and so this appears to be a law without value.

Unless the Scottish Government is proposing that couples seeking marriage be forced to receive advice, guidance and counsel? It is difficult to understand the rationale behind these proposals. The Scottish Government should abandon these changes and instead seek to help the Church educate rather than legislate.

The final two proposal's are of deep concern as already in the UK people are being persecuted for voicing concern over the concept of same-sex relationships. Is the Scottish Government intending to enable people to prosecute any Church that will not discuss same-sex relationships due to their belief in God's law?

Is the Scottish Government intending to prevent Church's from solemnising marriage if they will not solemnize same-sex marriage?



Question 6 Do you have any comments on abolishing the concept of marriage by cohabitation with habit and repute where a couple erroneously believed themselves to be married but it transpired after one of them died that the marriage was not valid?

Marriage is the recognition of a life long sexual union and partnership between one man and one woman by God and society. While the State in recent years has legislated with regards to marriage, this does not give the State the right to deprive couples of the opposite sex of the recognition of married status.

The Scottish Government appears to intend to discriminate against any couple who had genuine reason to believe they were legally married by abolishing this concept.

This will cause hurt and distress to anyone affected by this change. This will cause legal difficulties with regards to separation or death and inheritance.



Question 7 Do you have any comments on the proposals for authorising religious and belief celebrants who wish to solemnise same sex marriage?

The Scottish Government proposes to introduce a legal environment where anyone in the LGBT community can assert that their human rights have been violated by anyone in a faith community who refuses to solemnise same sex marriage. This will reduce and endanger religious freedom.

The Scottish Government proposals will cause conflict between the rights of individuals. Scottish Citizens have no influence on European Courts. We have already had several instances this last year where the European Court ruled against British citizens right to act on freedom of conscience and religion and have free speech.

Gays and Lesbians already have more rights than Heterosexual individuals. A gay man has the right either to marry a woman or to enter into a civil partnership with a man. Likewise a Lesbian woman has the right either to marry a man or to enter into a civil partnership with a woman. Heterosexual individuals are currently being discriminated against by the Scottish Government who refuse them the same rights.

By introducing this change to law, The Scottish Government will further restrict the rights of Scottish citizens to act on freedom of conscience and religious conviction and have free speech.



Question 8 Do you have any comments on opt-outs for civil registrars who do not wish to solemnise same sex marriage?

Scotland currently benefits from the requirement of Christian practice that the whole of life is guided by God's law and Jesus teaching.

Examples include acting with honesty and integrity; showing generosity and kindness; showing compassion; living in a humble way; putting the needs of others before our own. All that is good in Scottish law is based on God's law and Jesus teaching.

Other faith groups expect the same level of commitment. Islam is a way of life. So is Hinduism, so is Buddhism.

Many compromises have been made to accommodate religious belief and while not every belief can or should be accommodated under law, it is discrimination against all who claim a faith to legislate that an individual cannot opt out of performing a civil function simply because it is a civil function.

"The Government does not consider it would be helpful to intervene in this way." Yet the Scottish Government intends to place thousands of public servants in an impossible position where - because of their strongly held conviction - they cannot support same sex relationships.

The consequences of the change in redefinition of marriage will cause a huge split in Scottish society. The Scottish Government must not force anyone to perform same sex marriage and the only way to prevent this is to drop the proposed bill in its entirety.



Question 9 Do you have any comments on the proposed approach in relation to freedom of speech?

The Scottish Government are guilty of an outright lie with regards to protecting freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression.

Already in Scotland a police Chaplain has been forced out of his job after mentioning on a private blog his views on same sex marriage.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9901134/Police-chaplain-forced-out-after-criticising-gay-marriage.html

This is even before same sex marriage is recognised in law.

Do I have freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression?

I believe that heterosexual relationships are normal.

I believe that sexual relationships outside of a life long commitment between one man and one woman have resulted in an explosion of sexually transmitted disease that is crippling many in our nation.

I will not support same sex marriage.

I will not allow my children to be taught same sex marriage is normal or a human right.

I believe that having sex with multiple partners and the practice of anal sex are dangerous activities and that the Government should never support any organisation that promotes the lie of 'safe' sex. The only safe sex that can be achieved is between faithful partners.

I believe that abstinence from sex should be taught to children as the safest way to protect themselves from physical and emotional harm until they are adults.

I believe that God's law and guidance as recorded in the whole Bible is beneficial for society as a whole.

How will the Scottish Government protect my freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression? The Scottish Government did not protect the Police Chaplain mentioned above.



Question 10 Do you have any comments on the proposals in relation to education and same sex marriage?

Faithful and stable and committed and loving marriages are the best environment for raising children. Numerous studies have been carried out recognising this.

Having public recognition of married status means children grow up knowing there is commitment and faithfulness. This is an excellent grounding for children and the best starting point for adult life.

By changing the definition of marriage, the association of marriage with children is removed. Marriage is weakened since one primary purpose of the sexual union between a man and a woman is to produce children.

Scottish society has been harmed by a continual erosion of faithfulness and commitment between men and women. How we behave in the most important relationships we can have has an effect on all other relationships.

Breakdown in heterosexual relationships is having widespread negative consequences for Scottish society: dysfunctional families; children with no strong male role model; dependence on benefits; increase in poverty. Instead of promoting commitment and faithfulness between heterosexuals who make up between 92 and 98 percent of the population, The Scottish Government is seeking to weaken the concept of marriage which is likely to increase the likelihood of additional societal breakdown.

It has been estimated that 43% of co-habiting couples split up by their child's fifth birthday compared to only 8% of married couples. Why is the Scottish Government not doing more to promote and encourage marriage between heterosexual couples; and to help married couples work out problems and so build stable and beneficial relationships.

It is highly likely that many teachers will refuse to teach same sex marriage lessons due to reasons of conscience and religious belief. If the Scottish Government is serious about its intention of protecting the rights of freedom of religion and conscience and expression they must amend the equalities act to ensure that all employers, private and state must make reasonable accommodation of the manifestation of religious belief of their employees.

However, it is likely that the Scottish Government will be overruled by European Courts if any legal case is brought against a teacher.



Question 11 Do you have any comments on the proposals on the impact of same sex marriage on legislation, the common law or on private arrangements?

"3.16 The Government will consider if amendments to the guidance are needed to make it clear that Christians and people of other faiths can apply to become foster parents and that a would-be fosterer should not be rejected just because of his or her views on same-sex marriage."

This statement from the Scottish Government reads like a statement from early 1930's Nazi Germany where a group of people were singled out in law because of their faith. The initial laws were innocuous but gradually became more and more divisive:

Jews can shop here

Jews can live here

Jews must register

Jews can only shop in some places

Jews can only live in some places

For the Scottish Government to state in law that a Christian may do something is to clearly show a desire to discriminate against a Christian. Currently whether I am a Christian or not should make no difference to whether I apply to adopt or foster.

Why doesn't the Scottish Government state that Gay men and Lesbian women may foster children? Is the Scottish Government going to state that aethists can foster? Both these examples would be seen as discrimination.

The Scottish Government is showing religious intolerance in the language used in this bill.

It is likely that if fostering or adoption guidelines are amended to take account of same sex marriages that any who have religious or conscience based concerns about same sex marriages will be discriminated against with regards to fostering and adoption.

The Scottish Government must not amend fostering or adoption guidelines.



Question 12 Are you aware of any legislation where there is a need to make it clear that references to marriage or spouse should not extend to both opposite sex and same sex marriages or spouses? If you are, please give details of the legislation and explain why it should not extend in this way.

No legislation needs to be amended and no legislation should be amended.

The terms marriage and spouse apply to opposite sex couples and there is no valid reason to change this.





Question 13 Do you have any comments on the proposed approach to the law on adultery?

The Scottish Government shows it's desire to discriminate against heterosexual marriages by changing the definition of marriage and lessening it's meaning.

Adultery is a serious, hurtful breach of trust. It is a break of commitment. It leaves the victim in the relationship with emotional damage that can last years. Yet the Scottish Government proposes that if a same sex couple marry, there is no recognition of the seriousness of that commitment.

Are the Scottish Government saying that a gay or lesbian relationship is not as strong or as powerful an emotional bond as that of a heterosexual relationship?

Or are the Scottish Government saying that gay men and lesbian women are unwilling to make life long commitments?

The fact the Scottish Government does not intend to replicate the concept of adultery for same sex relationships shows that there is no intention to make same sex marriages equal with heterosexual marriages.

Same sex couples already have full legal rights under law to enter into a civil partnership. Since the Scottish Government does not intend to (and cannot) make same sex relationships identical to heterosexual relationships in every way, this bill has no justification and should be dropped.



Question 14 Do you have any comments on the proposed approach to the law on permanent and incurable impotency?

Many heterosexual people choose to get married with full expectation they will be able to have children. This is a fundamental human desire and need.

Some heterosexual couples find they are unable to have children and this can be distressing.

While there may be a relatively small number of cases of heterosexual couples choosing to divorce for the reason of being unable to have children together, the Scottish Government has no right to decide that the natural human desire to have children has no value.

The fact that the possibility of obtaining a divorce on grounds of impotency or infertility is recognised in law shows how important past generations have seen this. There is no reason to expect this will ever change.

This is another example of the Scottish Government's failure to understand the importance of marriage and how redefining it as a concept is fundamentally flawed.

The fact that a same sex couple cannot produce children together is a clear example of the difference between heterosexual relationships and same sex relationships. Marriage emphasises the importance of a man and woman committing to a life time relationship with one of the key benefits and responsibilities that of raising children and ultimately having responsibility to support ones children as they raise their children. This is a difference between heterosexual and same sex relationships that has always existed and always will exist.

It should be noted that there are documented examples of heterosexual couples who have been diagnosed with permanent and incurable impotency, who have chosen to adopt, who then go on to have children naturally. Medical science cannot offer an explanation for this. However, the law as it stands, while imperfect, is just.



Question 15 Do you have any comments on the proposed approach to the law on bigamy?

The Scottish Government will create a legal minefield by redefining marriage.

The Scottish Government will create inequality where there was equality before. The Scottish Government will create discriminatory laws where the law was fair and proportional before.

This question highlights the lack of logic behind the Scottish Government proposals. I agree the Scottish Government should not allow polygamous marriages to take place in Scotland.

But, by redefining marriage, the Scottish Government is changing the boundaries of life which have been understood for thousands of years. So any sane person can rightly ask why are these boundaries being changed?

If a boundary is to be changed, where should it be changed to? If a man and a man can marry, why not three men? Why not three women? Why not one man and two women? Why not two men and a woman?

The Scottish Government is likely to receive requests for the latter situations because two men cannot produce children so they will need a woman to join with them to produce children. Likewise for two women in a relationship, they will need a man to produce children.

The Scottish Government has mocked and laughed at suggestions these situations would occur yet they have evaded the questions.

Here is another question, will a man and his brother be allowed to marry? How about a woman and her sister? Currently in law a man cannot marry a close relative. This has a practical reason: the risk of inbreeding.

Certainly for same sex couples inbreeding cannot be an issue. So, has the Scottish Government considered this possibility?

There is no valid reason to change the law as it currently stands with regards to marriage. By changing one aspect, the whole law will be open to question. The Scottish Government should drop this bill in its entirety.



Question 16 Do you have any comments on the proposed approach to ensuring that religious and belief bodies and celebrants do not have to register civil partnerships?

No individual should be forced or compelled to register or conduct same sex marriages or civil partnerships.

The Scottish Government proposals are likely to result in conflict with equality law so that an individual could be sued for refusing to conduct same sex marriages or civil partnerships.

This is another reason why the bill is fundamentally flawed and should be dropped.



Question 17 Do you have any comments on the proposals for changing civil partnerships to a marriage?

Marriage and Civil Partnership are different and this proposal does not recognise that fact.

I am opposed to the equating of Civil Partnership with Marriage.

There is justification for extending the concept of civil partnership to allow heterosexual couples or two people who do not plan to have a sexual union to share legal protections however this should be widely discussed in society as it will also have wide implications.



Question 18 Do you have any comments on the detailed proposals for allowing transgender people in a relationship to stay together, if they and their partner so wish, when obtaining the full Gender Recognition Certificate?

The Scottish Government proposals are discriminatory; without logic; will create inequality and a legal minefield.

As the Scottish Government does not propose to allow opposite sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, this will create a situation where a man can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, then enter into a civil partnership. But a heterosexual man cannot enter into a civil partnership with a woman. This is discrimination.

However, to introduce civil partnerships throughout Scotland for opposite sex partners will have tremendous financial cost. This at a time when we cannot afford basic needs as a country. The current legal situation should not be changed.